The name Model A was first used by Ford in 1903 and also known as the Fordmobile. This was the first vehicle produced by the Ford Motor Company and its first owner was Dr. Ernst Pfenning of Chicago, Illinois who purchased the Model A on July 23, 1903. Production of the first generation Model A lasted from 1903 through 1905 with 1750 examples being produced.
Automobile production was new and experiments with design, techniques, and technology were still being experimented with. Many early producers of the automobile had been in either the coachbuilding business or the bicycle business. Upon the invention of the automobile, they switched to the production of horseless carriages.
Henry Ford had $28,000 in investment capital to begin his new business. Upon completion of his first motorcar, he had spent all but $223.65. The Model A's were available as either a two-seater runabout or a four-seater tonneau. A flat-2 engine was horizontally-mounted midship and capable of producing 8 horsepower. A three-speed planetary transmission was matted to the engine. Dimensions and weight varied but the advertised top speed of the vehicle was about 45 miles per hour. The base price was $750 and was available with options such as a rear seat for $100. A rubber roof would set the buyer back an additional $30 while the leather roof was $50.
The Model A was replaced by a sequence of 'letter cars' until Ford produced the perfect combination of accordability and reliability with the Model T. It was mass produced and by 1914 the adaptation of the assembly line streamlined the process even further. By the 1920s, Ford had mobilized the United States with their customers wanting more and willing to pay more for it. Chevrolet's were becoming popular because they were similar to the Ford but offered a few extra amenities at a slightly higher but still reasonable price. Near the close of the 1920's and after sales began to slip, Ford realized that a replacement was needed.
So as production came to a close for the Model T, Henry Ford halted all production for six months to retool the equipment and prepare for the production of the Model A. The second generation of the Ford Model A began on October 20th, 1927. Sale of the Model A began on December 2nd, 1927 and was offered in four colors. The Model had been available in the United States only in black because it dried the fastest.
The public eagerly awaited the sale of the Model T's replacement and were not disappointed. It was a stylish and elegant vehicle, which had been designed by Henry Ford's son, Edsel. In comparison to its predecessor, it was more sophisticated and complex.
The cost of the second generation Model A, produced 24 years after the original Model A was sold for $365 less, with price ranging from $385 through $570. The car was powered by an L-head 4-cylinder engine with just over 200 cubic-inches in displacement. A three-speed sliding gear transmission with 1 reverse speed was used. Top speed was achieved a little over sixty-miles per hour with the average fuel mileage being rather exceptional at over 40 MPG.
Just like the Model T, the Model A was available in multiple configurations such as the top of the line Fordor in either 2 or 3 window, Victoria, Station Wagon, Truck, Town Car, Convertible Cabriolet, Phaeton, Business Coupe, Sport Coupe, Roadster Coupe, and Coupe to name a few.
During the production lifespan of the Model A, lasting until August 31, 1931, Ford produced 4,320,446 Model A's. It was replaced by the Model B.
By Daniel Vaughan | Mar 2006